Division I Coaches React to Major NCAA Rules Changes

Contributor, Rick Paine, is an expert on the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection. 

This Week, Rick Paine will discuss a topic that has been of great interest to many of our readers-the rules changes that the NCAA has leveled (and the big one they’re still waiting to vote on) in the last week. Read the initial report here, and check out below as Rick shares feedback from Division I Head Coaches and Recruiting Coordinators.

On Saturday the NCAA passed several new and positive rule changes affecting recruiting and amateur status, but tabled one potentially negative proposal.

In this article I am including the explanation and advice that we sent to all of our American College Connection families and our take on the tabled rule proposals set to be voted on this spring.

We surveyed every D-I head coach and Recruiting Coordinator in the country asking their opinion about the new rule proposals. I have included several quotes from the coaches.

Rule proposals that will be voted on this spring:

Proposal No. 13-, which moves the start date for recruiting to July 1 after the sophomore year in high school.

This moves the entire recruiting process an entire year earlier. Coaches will be able to start calling recruits right after grade 10. The current rule allows phone calls after grade 11. 98% of the college coaches are against moving the start of recruiting up by a year. They all agree that these rules will be passed in the near future and nearly of them have said that they will start the recruiting process earlier to keep up with the competition.

·  13-, which will allow off-campus contact with recruits beginning the first day of junior year in high school and communication with recruits on or after July 1 after the completion of the recruit’s sophomore year in high school.

This allows coaches to visit a recruit at his/her home and come to watch a practice at the beginning of grade 11.

“The NCAA believes having the date earlier in most sports would support student-athlete success by allowing prospects more time to develop relationships and gain information to help them make the best college choice possible.”

I disagree with this and so do nearly all of the college coaches. 15 and 16 year olds should be focused on school and their sport and enjoying life at that age. If this rule passes they will have to be more in tune with the recruiting process and how to communicate with coaches. We are putting together several new recruiting tips to help the kids and parents deal with this.

If these proposed rule changes are eventually passed, here are some other questions that will need to be addressed.

Still to be determined:

  • Will the official signing periods will be moved up
  • When will coaches start making scholarship offers
  • Ramifications of a verbal commitment
  • Will some coaches abuse the unlimited contact rule
  • How will coaches stay organized with their recruiting
  • How can we turn the new rules into an advantage for our ACC families

Quotes from D-I coaches regarding the proposed rule changes- the earlier start date for recruiting:

“Cannot stand them. I’m on the CSCAA board and we’re doing our best to fight them for swimming.  Think other individual sports (track, wrestling, etc) are on board too. Simply does not make sense for us.

A powerful voice would be the parents. If you could urge the families you work with to contact the NCAA if they oppose these changes.”

“I think this proposal is an awful idea.  It will double (or more) the amount of prospects to track more thoroughly at a given time.”

“I am not in favor of these rules in the least. Most swim coaches that I have spoken with do not favor these recruiting rule changes. This is, in many ways, a life-changer for coaches, doubling our recruiting responsibilities and leaving us vulnerable in many regards as it pertains to coaching our athletes and spending time with our families. It is insanity beyond all reason.”

“In my opinion recruiting Sophomore Swimmers outside of 3 or four from each gender is a waste of time and yet if this rule passes we will have to do it.  I think the one call per week limitation is a good thing as it keeps the over aggressive coaches from setting the call standard that we will all have to live up to in order to show we ‘care’.“

“We do not want to start recruiting 15 year olds and having conversations with 16 year olds occupied with taking drivers education classes.  But, to stay competitive with everyone, we will have to do it.  It will take significant more time on our end and on the end of the athlete”

“Anyone who wants to swim in college will have to start the recruiting process in the 9th and 10th grade. They will have to be more proactive, but we are not going to be able to find them on our own as much as we used to. Your program will become even more invaluable.”

“I was always in favor of increasing communication starting July 1st of senior year. No coach that I know thinks that starting this whole process before junior year is any good. If is funny, it has reduced the work of compliance but quadrupled my workload.”

“When you and Jessica sent us profiles on 9th graders before, I didn’t really put them in our files. I will start doing that now because I think the new start date for recruiting will eventually pass. Please keep up the great work that you do.”

“Personally don’t like it.  As a club coach I think the distraction and the people telling them everything about how great they are that early will only add to training problems and distractions.  As a parent think that it initially sounds good but the sheer number of calls, contacts and information is going to be unreal and very intrusive to family life.”

Rule Changes that were adopted:

·  13-, eliminate restrictions governing numerical limitations on recruiting communication and on the methods and modes of communication

Coaches will be able to communicate to recruits in any fashion (face book, text). Old rules only allowed mailing, emails and phone calls.

Coaches will be able to call or text a recruit an unlimited amount of times. The old rule only allowed one phone call per week.

Now when we send a swimmer’s info to the coaches we will have to include the swimmer’s preferred means of communication and probably set up a contact schedule so the swimmer is not bombarded by texts and phone calls during school.

Changes for accepting money for training and competition expenses:

These are good changes which will define how athletes can accept money for expenses related to training and competition. This will clear up the process. The old rules were about as clear as mud.

  • 12-1, establish a uniform definition of actual and necessary expenses.
  • 12-2, allow the calculation of actual and necessary expenses to be based on the total over a calendar year instead of an event-by-event basis. The working group recommended the calculation change for both prospective and enrolled student-athletes.
  • 12-3, allow a student-athlete to receive $300 more than actual and necessary expenses, provided the expenses come from an otherwise permissible source.
  • 12-4, permit individuals to receive actual and necessary competition-related expenses from outside sponsors, so long as the person is not an agent, booster, or representative of a professional sports organization.
  • 12-5, allow student-athletes in sports other than tennis to receive up to actual and necessary competition-related expenses based on performance from an amateur team or event sponsor.

To find out if the time is right for you to get started with the college recruiting process go to www.ACCrecruits.com and submit a Free Profile Assessment.

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8 years ago

I have a hard time understanding if 98% of the coaches are against particular items, how it can be passed. May end up seeing more college coaches moving out of the college ranks and taking on a high paid private high school role or club position. Recruiting is tough enough, especially on limited funds/time. Thanks for the article.

8 years ago

It would be awful for swimming coaches to have to start calling rising juniors. All sports are blanketed together with this legislation, so while 98% of swimming coaches are against it, it’s really being pushed through by some of the other sports, and women’s basketball is a big culprit in trying to get it pushed through. Some of the sports do not have to recruit the volume that we do – since their rosters are 15 athletes – and this will really hurt the family and personal life of many collegiate coaches. This would be a travesty for the NCAA to pass, not only for the lives of coaches, but high school students who are continually forced to make earlier… Read more »

8 years ago

I seriously question the precision of the quoted stat of 98% of the coaches are against the proposed rule change. Perhaps, he means “all but one or two of the swim coaches we talked to” are opposed to this rule change. I’ve read elsewhere that a number of coaches (maybe non swim coaches) are in favor of changing the current rule….however, some disagree with the proposal to make the July 1st start date apply uniformly and are looking at other dates that are less forward.
As a swim parent with one kid through the process and graduated and another who will be college bound in 2 years, I think there is some merit of moving it up from the… Read more »

8 years ago

I agree with everything college coach said. As a current Division I head coach at a top 40 program these rule changes are awful at best.

8 years ago

Unfortunately the bulk of what was passed had nothing to do with the legitimacy of the proposal in the eyes the sports, it was more about the NCAA removing themselves from having to spend time investigating and enforcing “minor rule violations”. Every time School A turns in School B for an improper contact/too many phone calls, etc. the NCAA invests time and money in following up and dealing with these reported at violations that worst case scenario involve a reprimand. All these proposals were lumped into one large pile and passed — things the leadership of the NCAA and College Presidents felt needed to be taken off the plate. If you ask a College President whether they think it is… Read more »

8 years ago

One would think then, swim3057, if the NCAA wanted to reduce the amount of legwork it has to do with regards to enforcement, we could start with relaxing the rules regarding voluntary workouts, spring training, summer training, etc? I find it absolutely insane that we are now allowed to pay, out of our college budgets, for any number of summer national meets, yet we technically cannot administer (coach) our athletes to attend those meets?

This is a joke as obviously anyone going to Trials, US Open, Nationals, etc., will coach their athletes. As if Teri McKeever is going to “wait” for Missy Franklin to “ask” her to coach her above and beyond “safety” during a “voluntary” workout above 8… Read more »

Reply to  DutchWomen
8 years ago

I agree with your comments DUTCHWOMEN. As I understand it, the NCAA will be voting in the near future on rule changes to the practice time and season. Let’s hope it is a positive.

8 years ago

Your article is incorrect. The start date for phone calls will be July 1 following a prospect’s junior year in high school. There after it will be unlimited. The Proposal of 13-2 which would have moved the rule to after the sophomore year in high school was not adopted. It will be discussed at the April Legislative Council meetings.

Make sure to do your homework before bashing something. Time Period for Telephone Calls — General Rule. Telephone calls to an individual (or his or her relatives or legal guardians) may not be made before July 1 following the completion of his or her junior year in high school (subject to the exceptions below), or the opening day… Read more »

Reply to  Braden Keith
8 years ago

Thanks Braden

Reply to  JP
8 years ago

jp take a look at the article again and I think you will find that the article is correct. Look under “Rule proposals that will be voted on this spring”.

Are in favor of the college coaching being allowed to start calling and texting recruits on July 1 after their sophomore year?

8 years ago

I retired from college coaching two years ago and we used American College Connection exclusively for finding viable recruits. I appreciate the information that Rich and his staff provide the swimming community. These people should be thanked instead of getting bashed by someone who can’t read.
Keep the info coming, I for one am appreciative.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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